UPDATE: Some backtracking from the state today. The state now says, based on its investigation, Wesley Ledbetter did not shoot himself in the chest. Someone else did. The state originally stated in court that witnesses said they believed Ledbetter shot himself in the chest after shooting Michael Beasley in the head. The state now says an as of yet unidentified person shot Ledbetter.
“It’s amazing to me the state of Alabama would come into a courtroom and represents to a judge this man shot himself in the chest and not one witness observed the man being shot, what was reported was mere speculation and conjecture,” said defense attorney Chase Dearman. Despite the change in the narrative, the judge did not reduce Ledbetter’s bond calling him a threat to the community.
The state says Michael Beasley was never armed and the two men did not know each other in any capacity. According to testimony from an investigator with Mobile Police, Ledbetter and his girlfriend were leaving Alabama’s Bar and Lounge on the night of the murder when they got into a fight in the parking lot. Michael Beasley and his friends were leaving too–Beasley saw the fight, tried to step in to help and that’s when a fight started with Ledbetter. The state says Ledbetter drew a gun–fired a shot into the ground, then shot Michael Beasley after threatening to kill one of his friends. The judge described Beasley as a good samaritan.
“He would do anything for you he had a huge heart, he didn’t like drama, he liked to stay away from all that,” said Beasley’s father Roger. The state said Ledbetter tried to get his girlfriend to drive him away from the scene, she refused and then someone shot Ledbetter in the chest.
The state says Ledbetter is rightfully charged with murder. The defense disagrees calling this a case of self-defense. The state would not name who they thought shot Ledbetter as investigators have not positively identified that person. It’s not clear if that shooter would also face criminal charges in that case. Ledbetter’s case was sent to the grand jury as a result of Tuesday’s preliminary hearing.
ORIGINAL STORY: MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A man accused of shooting another man to death and then shooting himself in the chest is expected back in court this morning. Wesley Ledbetter is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing and bond reduction hearing this morning.
He’s accused of shooting and killing Michael Beasley outside Alabama’s Bar and Lounge in west Mobile back in November. Family members says Beasley was a beloved member of the region’s tight-knit racing community. Ledbetter is accused of shooting Beasley in November and he wasn’t released from the hospital until December.
In court earlier this month, Ledbetter’s attorney argued his client needed his bond reduced from $200,000 to something more affordable. Chase Dearman claimed his client was in dire health and not receiving the medical care he needed for his wound inside Mobile Metro Jail. The judge assured the defense attorney he’d personally follow-up with jail administrators to make sure Ledbetter was getting the care he needed.
In addition to a decision on whether to lower the bond, we may learn more today about what happened the night Michael Beasley was killed. We expect to hear testimony from at least one investigator from the state before a judge decides whether or not to send the case to the grand jury.
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